Top-flight Hibernian required a Kevin Nisbet extra-time winner to edge out League 1 Cove Rangers in the Scottish Cup on a nervy night at Easter Road.
The hosts were flat throughout but were controversially denied a Christian Doidge first-half opener when replays showed the striker’s finish was onside.
The part-time visitors defended impeccably until the 112th minute, when Nisbet swept in from close range.
Shaun Maloney’s side will find out their last-16 opponents on Saturday.
Reaction & as it happenedHibs’ slackness gave Cove encouragement, and with no Martin Boyle – who is set to complete a move to Saudi Arabian club Al-Faisaly – the home side were lacking pace and penetration.
Debutants Chris Mueller and Ewan Henderson struggled to impose themselves early on, but both sparked into life when the former capitalised on slack Cove defending to force Kyle Gourlay to save his right. Henderson’s fine cross then found Doidge, who glanced a header just wide.
Doidge was incorrectly denied an opening goal by the offside flag after Josh Campbell cut out a Fraser Fyvie pass and released the Welsh striker.
Cove – top of League 1 and unbeaten in 15 games prior to this tie – were showing admirable composure but needed a touch of fortune to get to the break level when Josh Doig failed to convert a close-range volley.
With a reaction expected from Hibs after the break, it was instead Cove who grew into the game more and Mitch Megginson forced Matt Macey into a near-post stop.
Maloney called on Nisbet and Jamie Murphy from the bench for an impact, but part-time Cove defended resolutely as the frustrated hosts were largely reduced to shots from distance and hopeful crosses.
Extra-time coincided with a bout of fatigue in the visiting side as Hibs ramped up the pressure, with Doig and Nisbet both sending efforts narrowly wide.
Nisbet would make no mistake with his next effort, though, sweeping in first time from a Doig cross to avoid a cup shock and break Cove hearts.
What did they say?Hibernian manager Shaun Maloney: “I’m happy to still be in the cup, but for sure the performance can be better. I knew it was going to be threat of a game.
“Their players aren’t League 1 players and their manager isn’t a League 1 manager. I have to be happy with the players. We did create chances and in cup competitions it’s about being in it.”
Hibernian striker Kevin Nisbet: “We just had to keep plugging away. It doesn’t really matter how you get through to the next round, we’re just delighted to be there.
“I thought the deliveries were great all game. As strikers we need to get on the end of them and thankfully when Josh [Doig] drilled one in I managed to connect with it.”
Cove Rangers manager Paul Hartley: “I’m really proud of the players with the performance they put in against a good Hibs team. There wasn’t a lot between the two teams, maybe we just ran out of legs a little bit.
“We came here with a game plan and it worked and it’s just a shame we didn’t get to penalties or nick a goal. We wanted to come here and put on a show and we certainly did that.”
1Macey20HallbergSubstituted forDoyle-Hayesat 82’minutes4HanlonBooked at 102mins16Stevenson27Cadden32Campbell11NewellBooked at 116mins3Doig80HendersonSubstituted forMurphyat 59’minutes14MuellerSubstituted forScottat 90’minutes9DoidgeSubstituted forNisbetat 59’minutesSubstitutes8Wright13Gogic15Nisbet18Murphy21Dabrowski22Doyle-Hayes23Allan25Scott26MackieCove RangersFormation 3-4-3
23Gourlay2NeillBooked at 66mins6StrachanSubstituted forAndersonat 90’minutes3Milne5RossBooked at 114mins8Yule24FyvieSubstituted forLeitchat 82’minutes4ScullyBooked at 23mins11McIntoshSubstituted forReynoldsat 68’minutes9MegginsonBooked at 62mins10MassonSubstituted forMcAllisterat 68’minutesSubstitutes1McKenzie13McAllister15Anderson17Adeyemo20Leitch26ReynoldsReferee:Euan Anderson
Live TextMatch ends, Hibernian 1, Cove Rangers 0.
Second Half Extra Time ends, Hibernian 1, Cove Rangers 0.
Foul by Kevin Nisbet (Hibernian).
Morgyn Neill (Cove Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Matt Macey (Hibernian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Mitch Megginson (Cove Rangers).
Corner, Cove Rangers. Conceded by Kevin Nisbet.
Joe Newell (Hibernian) is shown the yellow card.
Foul by Joe Newell (Hibernian).
Mitch Megginson (Cove Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Scott Ross (Cove Rangers) is shown the yellow card.
Goal! Hibernian 1, Cove Rangers 0. Kevin Nisbet (Hibernian) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Josh Doig.
Attempt missed. Kevin Nisbet (Hibernian) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left.
Jake Doyle-Hayes (Hibernian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Rory McAllister (Cove Rangers).
Corner, Hibernian. Conceded by Mark Reynolds.
Second Half Extra Time begins Hibernian 0, Cove Rangers 0.
First Half Extra Time ends, Hibernian 0, Cove Rangers 0.
Corner, Hibernian. Conceded by Mark Reynolds.
Paul Hanlon (Hibernian) is shown the yellow card.